Milestone-Nomination:16-bit Monolithic DAC, 1981
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Proposed citation in English
The World’s first 16-bit Monolithic DAC that enabled mass market volume production and sales of the Compact Disc Player. This fundamental achievement resulted in digital audio overtaking analog audio spawning a new industry.
Historic significance of this work: its importance to the evolution of electrical and computer engineering and science and its importance to regional/national/international development.
The PCM53/DAC700 is the World's First Monolithic 16-bit DAC. Designed by Jimmy Naylor and TI / Burr-Brown data converter design team , this product played a key role in transforming the music industry from analog audio tapes and Vinyl long Play Discs (LPs) into digital audio Compact Discs. This 16 bit DAC was designed in to almost all major manufacturers of CD players when the Compact Disc Player was emerging as a superior Digital Audio apparatus and led TI / Burr-Brown to dominate the digital audio data converter market with more than 80% share for several years. The TI/ Burr Brown DAC was mentioned in the movie “The Italian Job”. This unique monolithic chip and its fundamental achievement together with the technical advances in Audio and Speech processing, digital signal processing, which occurred in the 1970s and 1980s  resulted in digital audio overtaking analog audio and spawning a new digital audio industry that is still expanding today with the introduction of a new generation iPods and other MP3 Players.
What features or characteristics set this work apart from similar achievements?
For the first time, a complete 16-bit monolithic DAC has been integrated into a single chip with all the components necessary for a high performance Digital to Analog converter. Up until this point all 16-bit DACs were multi-chip hybrids that are not functionally complete because external components must be added and they were very costly to build.
When Sony and Philips were designing the Digital Audio players, there were three fundamental problems that needed to be solved:
1) A medium that could store the amount of information needed for high fidelity audio. They started with digital tape, but settled on the compact disc (CD) format.
2) Lowering the cost of the read mechanism (laser) to read the CD.
3) A low cost, high performance DAC to play back the music!
TI / Burr-Brown’s design team were already working on a monolithic DAC for industrial markets, but we really stepped up the pace and were first to the emerging audio market. The differential linearity laser trim algorithm made the DAC "sound better” with lower Total harmonic Distortion (THD) that was better than if you trimmed for absolute linearity. This was the best performance audio DAC of its time with much improved reliability over the older hybrid design which required multiple chips and over 100 wirebonds. With the help of TI/Burr-Brown Japan’s super sales and applications team we were designed in to almost all major manufacturers of CD players and dominated the Digital to Analog audio converter market with more than 80% share for several years.
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